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corbett
09-22-2012, 07:24 PM
I need advice here. My former teacher and I no longer train together. When our paths cross we briefly speak respectfully and go our seperate ways. He is a very high ranking practitioner of several arts. His aikido ranking is the least of his ranks. He is shodan. I am shodan. My old training partners are shodan. But my former teacher has promoted another former student he originally promoted to shodan to nidan even though he himself is not nidan. Permissable to promote above your own rank and then have that nidan teach at your for-profit dojo? Please advise. Yours in the honorable spirit of aiki.

lbb
09-22-2012, 07:53 PM
Please advise.

It sounds like you're looking for opinions, not advice. Whatever he's doing, it's not as if you can do anything about it.

gates
09-22-2012, 08:36 PM
Here is my opinion.
Not ethical.
Here is my advise.
Smile politley.

aikishihan
09-22-2012, 09:23 PM
What's rank got to do with your commitment to train honestly in Aikido?

Janet Rosen
09-22-2012, 09:39 PM
Here is my opinion.
Not ethical.
Here is my advise.
Smile politley.

Yep

Rob Watson
09-22-2012, 10:04 PM
Depends on the organization guidelines. Certainly no aikikai rank can be grant in such a way.

Ethics depends on following the rules ... which we don't have enough info on.

Chris Li
09-23-2012, 02:40 AM
Depends on the organization guidelines. Certainly no aikikai rank can be grant in such a way.

I don't think that's quite right. In the Aikikai I've seen people recommend for promotion up to their own rank - or even higher.

The thing is, there's only one person in the entire Aikikai who actually grants promotions, everybody else (even the eighth dans) only recommends. So, basically speaking, it all depends on what Doshu feels like doing and will accept...

Best,

Chris

danj
09-23-2012, 07:35 AM
meh.. his own dojo, his own rules, Soke is always right (Provided its not misrepresenting a wider organisational context). Lots of people do it (the good, the bad, the ugly), the historically successful create world wide organisations and a generation or two later are venerated for it.

Can see how it might stick in the craw though

dan

robin_jet_alt
09-23-2012, 08:13 AM
So, who awarded him shodan in the first place, and under what authority did he award nidan? none of us can really say anything with any certainty without knowing these things. It sounds a bit dodgy though.

graham christian
09-23-2012, 01:42 PM
When your student gets better than you then you have done a fine job.

Peace.G.

Basia Halliop
09-23-2012, 02:03 PM
I'm not sure what kind of 'advice' you're looking for. Are you asking if you should report him to someone (I don't know who)? If you should confront him and tell him your opinion? If you should tell his students your opinion that you think this is wrong? Are you considering going back to train there again?

As far as I can see, it's not the kind of thing that's done in secret so there's nothing to 'report', and other than that it doesn't really seem to have anything to do with you.

aikishihan
09-23-2012, 02:41 PM
When you have allowed your students to develop themselves beyond the goals you have set for yourself, you have utterly failed them, your mentors, and yourself.

aikilouis
09-23-2012, 03:42 PM
This is a strange declaration. Care to explain, please ?

graham christian
09-23-2012, 04:03 PM
When you have allowed your students to develop themselves beyond the goals you have set for yourself, you have utterly failed them, your mentors, and yourself.

Who's quote is this? Sounds crazy to me.

Peace.G.

Janet Rosen
09-23-2012, 05:37 PM
When you have allowed your students to develop themselves beyond the goals you have set for yourself, you have utterly failed them, your mentors, and yourself.

Huh? In a few areas of life I am a much better teacher than practitioner; just the way it is. I don't see my students surpassing me as a bad thing but as a wonderful thing.

RonRagusa
09-23-2012, 07:59 PM
When you have allowed your students to develop themselves beyond the goals you have set for yourself, you have utterly failed them, your mentors, and yourself.

Too true Francis. If my students exceed the goals I have set for myself while I am alive and training then I have ceased growing and furthering my art. And should I ever reach a point where I can no longer push the envelope of my own development I will step aside and pass the torch on.

Ron

Basia Halliop
09-23-2012, 10:43 PM
I thought that was supposed to be the goal of every teacher of anything: for their students to eventually surpass them. Same with parents - it's a sentiment I've heard my dad express more than once when one of his kids did something well.

"And should I ever reach a point where I can no longer push the envelope of my own development I will step aside and pass the torch on."

How does a person 'pass the torch on' other than by teaching?

Of course one would hope teachers would keep developing as students as well, but it's hardly a failure as a teacher to be a better teacher than you are a student.

The only dilemma I see here is whether or not the teacher is giving ranks he isn't qualified to give. But if he doesn't belong to an organisation with rules about how ranks are given, then it's sort of up to him to do what he thinks is best. Maybe he thinks this student is better than him and this is his way of handling it. Without knowing the personal motives and details it's hard for an outsider to judge if it's right or wrong.

In any case I can't really see what it has to do with the poster, who isn't even a student there. It kind of gives the impression that he has a bad history with this guy and is looking for excuses to think badly of the guy or even to spread bad feeling among his current students. My advice would be to move on and stop thinking about what's going on in this dojo - it serves no positive purpose. Find another dojo if possible but in any case, don't keep looking back at this one.

aikishihan
09-23-2012, 11:52 PM
First, allow me to apologize for the terse nature of my statement. No doubt, the subject matter of the proper and successful transmission of knowledge, techniques, materials, instruction and wisdom from teacher to student has many facets, and many schools of thought and theory. If my statement came off as being a bit “elitist”, it was intentional. I cannot fathom O Sensei, Kano Sensei, Takeda Sensei, Newton, Aristotle, Einstein etc. etc. etc. of ever accepting being surpassed by any of their talented students.

Secondly, when it comes to matters Aiki and Aikido related, I acknowledge no competition amongst individuals, styles and theories. Therefore, I acknowledge no competition between a master teacher and his or her students over time. The path of personal shugyo is singular and unique to each individual, leaving no basis for real comparison or authenticated contrast of the timelines, goals defined, or even goals attained for each person.

The notion long endured of “it is the teacher’s goal to have the student surpass him or her over a lifetime” is absurd and offensive to all parties, if they would but think of what this really is trying to convey. It is assuming that there is a quantifiable method of determining correctly what that teacher’s private goals actually were, or if it were even feasible to compare them with the those of the master’s acknowledged students. If so, in what time frame? Using what parameters or guidelines? No such formula exists, nor can it ever exist, as each individual’s path is singular, original, and time sensitive.
Why on earth would any genuine student want to tread on the master’s path, only to claim to surpass it where the teacher left off? How much time would remain for that student to then create an original path of his own, learning from his own triumphs and miscues, and have a legacy to pass on to his own spate of students?

I do believe that the above stated notion is noble and romantic, but quite impossible to truly envision, let alone institute and achieve. If such an arbitrary standard were successfully raised, acknowledged and supported by all involved, then perhaps such a phenomenon of overtaking can actually take place. Otherwise, why waste any more mindless rhetoric on this matter?

For those who specialize in being hopelessly mired in circular arguments, good bye. And yes, it was I who made up that statement.

For those who still believe in the intrinsic ability of each person to strive for unique achievement, like the Founder of Aikido, like the great minds of science and philosophy over the centuries, and from countless other fields of human endeavor, be at ease, for yours is still the right to create and to lead as your talent, energy and drive supports your dreams. Your rigorous example is exactly what your future students really want from you, and to draw from on their own journies. Knowing that you never quit growing, restructuring and humbly acknowledging your humanity, and your genius, is what all students want and need from their mentors. Do not ever stop.

In summation, it is useless to have two or more individuals travel the exact same path. Since it is not possible, there can then be no way to overtake the one before. Have the courage, foresight and the perseverance to create your own path, and allow your teacher(s) to continue on their own pursuits, without thought of competition or fear of becoming someone else’s milestone.

graham christian
09-24-2012, 04:04 AM
Thanks, nice explanation Francis. However I still disagree. Apart from the fact I believe Ueshiba surpassed Takeda I can think of many many examples in life where the teachers hold high expectations for their students and thus this is their path and thus attracts those students.

All the stellar examples you mention had teachers didn't they? Teachers they surpassed in ability and skill in that particular zone of life. When I say surpassed or better I look not from a hierarchical or vertical view but rather a horizontal one ie: they went further along that particular path and reached new levels of skills and awareness.

Every path is different yes when you talk about life as a whole and goals in life as a whole and a good teacher can help the student to achieve their goals too but that is a separate matter.

In my view it's not a matter of competition or besting but rather a fact of life. Within your sphere in your particular area of teaching you have a certain degree of skill and ability albeit continually being improved upon.

If you help another reach that same level of skill and ability and allow that person to go even further then the circle can be made complete for now you are the student and he is your teacher. The circle of life and all progressive in humility.

I enjoy others success and I am sure you do too and this is truly no competition but sharing in winning.

When a student does one technique even much better than I have ever done I am truly happy and thus can learn once again from my new master.

Peace.G.

danj
09-24-2012, 06:05 AM
OT a segue to science: Newtons famous quote "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." springs to mind, with Einstein perhaps eclipsing him?. Whilst the context of the quote is unclear, its a neat statement of the foundation of modern science. A PhD is the completion of an apprenticeship where there is the expectation that at the beginning the student is the Kohai and by the completion of the PhD is the Sempai to his supervisors, albeit in only the particular field of his/her PhD.

Perhaps in science, this is not so different to Shuhari, where one is expected to step from the shadow of the supervisor and create (and continue to create) something new. With a broard brush stroke Shuhari is the norm in science, rather than the exception. (Science in Japan I think wrestles with this concept though)

These cross cultural metaphors are hurting my head ;)

sorokod
09-24-2012, 07:26 AM
I dont think that in this context Newton and Einstein belong to the same list as O Sensei. Here I assume that a "student" has surpassed a "teacher" if her science is better. There is no doubt that Newton and latter Einstein pushed the boundaries of science beyond what was known then and it is reasonable to say that Einstein has surpassed Newton.

The reason that there is no doubt is that there is a universally acceptable criteria for comparing scientific theories. Not so for comparing flavours of Aikido.

Mary Eastland
09-24-2012, 08:03 AM
I need advice here. My former teacher and I no longer train together. When our paths cross we briefly speak respectfully and go our seperate ways. He is a very high ranking practitioner of several arts. His aikido ranking is the least of his ranks. He is shodan. I am shodan. My old training partners are shodan. But my former teacher has promoted another former student he originally promoted to shodan to nidan even though he himself is not nidan. Permissable to promote above your own rank and then have that nidan teach at your for-profit dojo? Please advise. Yours in the honorable spirit of aiki.

Since you asked for advice: Here is mine. Mind your own businees. This has nothing to do with you.

Basia Halliop
09-24-2012, 11:33 AM
Whatever you think of the idea of students surpassing their teachers, whether you see it as good or bad or just something that occasionally happens and 'just is', it's not an 'ethical' question in any way. It's just a question of pedagogy, psychology, personal relationships, organizational structure, etc. It's a matter for that teacher and that student and other students and teachers of both parties to consider and decide what kind of teaching model they themselves believe in and value, what skills they're looking for and what skills their teacher has, and what teacher they think they will learn most from.

If the guy was a student, then it would be something for him to think hard about and consider if this was a teacher he wished to follow or not. But he isn't, so it's just a random situation that has nothing at all to do with him. He doesn't personally like this guy's teaching model -- so? He's already decided he doesn't want to train with that teacher, which is fine. Other students do want to, which is also fine. They're all adults and can decide for themselves.

An 'ethical question' would be if he thought the teacher was sexually harassing or bullying teenage students, for example. Then there'd be reason for him to consider if he needed to do something and if so, what.

Rob Watson
09-24-2012, 11:50 AM
I don't think that's quite right. In the Aikikai I've seen people recommend for promotion up to their own rank - or even higher.

The thing is, there's only one person in the entire Aikikai who actually grants promotions, everybody else (even the eighth dans) only recommends. So, basically speaking, it all depends on what Doshu feels like doing and will accept...

Best,

Chris

From IAF regs
Article 9 : QUALIFICATIONS FOR CONDUCTING EXAMINATIONS AND MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS 1.An Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition, when its Person in Charge is 6th dan or above, may conduct examinations from 1st dan to 4th dan. When the Person in Charge is 4th dan or 5th dan, it may conduct examinations from 1st dan to 3rd dan. In the case of a 4th dan examination, an application to Hombu must be made. and the examination will be conducted by the Hombu or a person delegated by the Hombu.

What the "rules" are how reality functions are always subject to wide interpretation. Ethical behaviour is suppsoed to narow that gap - either by altering behaviour or changing the rules.

Chris Li
09-24-2012, 12:01 PM
From IAF regs
Article 9 : QUALIFICATIONS FOR CONDUCTING EXAMINATIONS AND MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS 1.An Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition, when its Person in Charge is 6th dan or above, may conduct examinations from 1st dan to 4th dan. When the Person in Charge is 4th dan or 5th dan, it may conduct examinations from 1st dan to 3rd dan. In the case of a 4th dan examination, an application to Hombu must be made. and the examination will be conducted by the Hombu or a person delegated by the Hombu.

What the "rules" are how reality functions are always subject to wide interpretation. Ethical behaviour is suppsoed to narow that gap - either by altering behaviour or changing the rules.

Of course, that's what the rules say. The thing with Japanese organizations like the Aikikai is that "rules" are more commonly treated as "guidelines" by the folks in charge.

I wouldn't count on them too carefully - in the end it's all up to Doshu, and the decisions don't always follow what's on the website.

Best,

Chris

Russ Q
09-24-2012, 04:41 PM
Secondly, when it comes to matters Aiki and Aikido related, I acknowledge no competition amongst individuals, styles and theories. Therefore, I acknowledge no competition between a master teacher and his or her students over time. The path of personal shugyo is singular and unique to each individual, leaving no basis for real comparison or authenticated contrast of the timelines, goals defined, or even goals attained for each person.

Well, that's a perfect summation of your point. Clear and, IMO, unarguable.

Thanks,

Russ

aikilouis
09-24-2012, 05:07 PM
First, allow me to apologize for the terse nature of my statement. No doubt, the subject matter of the proper and successful transmission of knowledge, techniques, materials, instruction and wisdom from teacher to student has many facets, and many schools of thought and theory. If my statement came off as being a bit “elitist”, it was intentional. I cannot fathom O Sensei, Kano Sensei, Takeda Sensei, Newton, Aristotle, Einstein etc. etc. etc. of ever accepting being surpassed by any of their talented students.

Secondly, when it comes to matters Aiki and Aikido related, I acknowledge no competition amongst individuals, styles and theories. Therefore, I acknowledge no competition between a master teacher and his or her students over time. The path of personal shugyo is singular and unique to each individual, leaving no basis for real comparison or authenticated contrast of the timelines, goals defined, or even goals attained for each person.

The notion long endured of “it is the teacher’s goal to have the student surpass him or her over a lifetime” is absurd and offensive to all parties, if they would but think of what this really is trying to convey. It is assuming that there is a quantifiable method of determining correctly what that teacher’s private goals actually were, or if it were even feasible to compare them with the those of the master’s acknowledged students. If so, in what time frame? Using what parameters or guidelines? No such formula exists, nor can it ever exist, as each individual’s path is singular, original, and time sensitive.
Why on earth would any genuine student want to tread on the master’s path, only to claim to surpass it where the teacher left off? How much time would remain for that student to then create an original path of his own, learning from his own triumphs and miscues, and have a legacy to pass on to his own spate of students?

I do believe that the above stated notion is noble and romantic, but quite impossible to truly envision, let alone institute and achieve. If such an arbitrary standard were successfully raised, acknowledged and supported by all involved, then perhaps such a phenomenon of overtaking can actually take place. Otherwise, why waste any more mindless rhetoric on this matter?

For those who specialize in being hopelessly mired in circular arguments, good bye. And yes, it was I who made up that statement.

For those who still believe in the intrinsic ability of each person to strive for unique achievement, like the Founder of Aikido, like the great minds of science and philosophy over the centuries, and from countless other fields of human endeavor, be at ease, for yours is still the right to create and to lead as your talent, energy and drive supports your dreams. Your rigorous example is exactly what your future students really want from you, and to draw from on their own journies. Knowing that you never quit growing, restructuring and humbly acknowledging your humanity, and your genius, is what all students want and need from their mentors. Do not ever stop.

In summation, it is useless to have two or more individuals travel the exact same path. Since it is not possible, there can then be no way to overtake the one before. Have the courage, foresight and the perseverance to create your own path, and allow your teacher(s) to continue on their own pursuits, without thought of competition or fear of becoming someone else’s milestone.
Sorry for intruding again, but a few things keep me thinking.

If there is no possible comparison between individuals, what is the nature of the teacher-student relationship ? Are they equals in practise ?

Why would it be so offensive to try to evaluate progression and quality ? And why couldn't a student manifest even better dispositions for excellence than his teacher ? If I was such a teacher, it would be a source of pride to have awakened a talent beyond my own.

According to what criteria would then be Einstein, O Sensei etc. be considered unsurpassable ? I guess they all started as beginners, their supposed superiority was not an intrinsic part of their nature from the get-go.

I agree that every path is one's own, but value is the result of a shared experience, excellence recognised between teacher and student, martial superiority between enemies, etc. Progression, no matter how personal and original, is always in relation to a context.

aikishihan
09-24-2012, 07:19 PM
Sincere thanks to all who have made sincere comments and shared interesting viewpoints.

I would like to respond to certain questions posed by Mr. Neveu, as they appear to be general enough to apply to the question of ethical behavior as introduced by the OP.

I believe that the nature of the student-teacher relationship is personal, and only the business of the individuals involved. To infer otherwise would indeed be unethical. Furthermore, this notion has apparently taken on mythical proportions, being given credit where absolutely little or no credit is due.

Is it reasonable and fair to align one student with one mentor for life? What of the other myriad stimuli, teachers, significant relationships, books read, adventures endured etc. that surely have much more than a passing influence on anyone’s growth of character, knowledge and wisdom? Even the Founder of Aikido had multiple key mentors he learned from, not counting those he privately cultivated over 86 years, and to which we are not privy. Again, this notion fails the smell test dismally.

There have never been, to my experience, true equality in peer relationships, that lasted much more than an incident or two. As we learn from our encounters, so do we automatically adjust with new energy, alternative choices and renewed stamina.

What indeed is to be gained by focusing on an ongoing comparison of the merits and demerits of two individuals and their alleged progress over an extended period of time Who can comfortably or profitably function in such an arbitrary vacuum? Why bother?

I would never declare known giants such as Einstein, Newton, Salk, and Morihei Ueshiba to be “unsurpassed” in anything. There is no criteria I can imagine to adequately do so, or any compelling logic to even try. We know next to nothing of the context of their daily lives, have no clue as to their innermost thoughts and items of faith, or their decisions to benefit from their private experiences. Who is so prescient?

Superiority is an word applied by others, rarely by the individual in question. It is a term of relativity, quite like a professional appraisal on a piece of property, which is only good for that one day. It has a very short half life indeed.

So too, words like “excellence”, “progression” and “shared experience” mean less than nothing without context, and again, unethical to use without it.

Let us rededicate ourselves to training our own selves in the Aikido method of choice.
There would be no profit for me in trying to manage or interpret the value of another person’s private journey. I would feel like some kind of slimy voyeur or inappropriate “busy body”, who no one really cares to associate with. I am busy as it is.

Chris Li
09-27-2012, 03:21 AM
Happened to run across this old quote of Morihei Ueshiba via Shoji Nishio from Aiki News #60:

This old man reached this stage, you should surpass me building on what I have left.

Best,

Chris

aikishihan
09-27-2012, 03:48 AM
Who has, and who can?

Different paths result in different results. Simple physics, simple math.

O Sensei was simply being a cheerleader, yet who really gets the message?

Stop dreaming someone else's dream. Be a true warrior, and fight your own fight.

O Sensei also said, "after me, there will be no more aikido."

Believe as you will. Being a failure is not his fault, it is yours.

aiki-jujutsuka
09-27-2012, 08:25 AM
sorry am I missing the point here or is this an issue of how is someone qualified to bestow a rank/grade, which they themselves have not obtained? If this instructor is a Shodan in Aikido and has promoted a student to Nidan in Aikido how is this possible? I don't understand how that would work? No matter how much experience this person has (he may well be at a Nidan level himself in experience), if he has not graded and gone through this process himself and passed having demonstrated he has clearly achieved the rank, how can he be qualified to judge and therefore grade accurately and correctly?

Walter Martindale
09-27-2012, 09:40 AM
I don't teach aikido. I do, however, coach a sport that is competed at the world and Olympic level. One athlete I introduced to the sport and coached for the first 15 months of her career passed my athletic achievements 23 months after she started rowing by winning the Pan American Games. 4 years later it was two world championship gold medals, the next year it was two Olympic gold medals. Later she retired with (let me see... 3 Olympic gold and one bronze. 3 world gold, two silver. In recent discussions with others who remember, I learn that they think she had the best "form" of any female in the sport. At best I was at "club" level in the sport. I've helped a number of others learn enough of the sport to make the leap to elite level competition, despite my never having coached at that level myself.
Others I have coached either as athletes or coaches have raced or are coaching at elite or near-elite levels. I guess I can consider that a success, even though my "students" passed me by.

Is it ethical for a shodan to recommend another shodan to higher ranking? I think so - if the former can tell that his/her student has passed him/her by and is going on to bigger and better things. Is it ethical for the person to hold the student back? Not on your life.

Forgive me for not having eloquent phrasing

Chris Li
09-27-2012, 10:15 AM
Who has, and who can?

Different paths result in different results. Simple physics, simple math.

O Sensei was simply being a cheerleader, yet who really gets the message?

Stop dreaming someone else's dream. Be a true warrior, and fight your own fight.

O Sensei also said, "after me, there will be no more aikido."

Believe as you will. Being a failure is not his fault, it is yours.

I wasn't dreaming anybody's dream in particular, I just thought that it was an interesting and relevant quote.

The notion long endured of "it is the teacher's goal to have the student surpass him or her over a lifetime" is absurd and offensive to all parties, if they would but think of what this really is trying to convey.

I do notice, however, that you seem to be a little more forgiving of the statement when it comes from Morihei Ueshiba.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
09-27-2012, 10:20 AM
sorry am I missing the point here or is this an issue of how is someone qualified to bestow a rank/grade, which they themselves have not obtained? If this instructor is a Shodan in Aikido and has promoted a student to Nidan in Aikido how is this possible? I don't understand how that would work? No matter how much experience this person has (he may well be at a Nidan level himself in experience), if he has not graded and gone through this process himself and passed having demonstrated he has clearly achieved the rank, how can he be qualified to judge and therefore grade accurately and correctly?

In the Aikikai, at least, I would say that the mechanism is that the instructors don't really promote people.

No instructor in the Aikikai has the authority to promote their students - not Yamada, not Saotome, not Chiba, not Hiroshi Tada.

Every instructor in the Aikikai recommends for promotion - the actual promotion itself comes from Doshu and Doshu alone.

Of course, Doshu has no idea who most of these people are... :D

Best,

Chris

aikishihan
09-27-2012, 11:15 AM
Good points, Chris, and thank you again for the Tada Sensei interviews.

Actually, it is my view that, IF the Founder made those two statements of a) exhorting his students to surpass him, and b) predicting that his aikido would die with him, he may have been a bit disingenuous. I doubt not that he always strove to be both honest and sincere, but, as amply documented, he advised against being totally forthcoming in his inner most thoughts and secrets.

I have found all manner of teachers who employ a plethora of teaching "tricks" and well intentioned subterfuges to get their students over a hump of understanding or complacency. We would be well adv ised to take these quotes attributed to the Founder with more than a few grains of salt. I have yet to see conclusive evidence that he was indeed accurately quoted, or consistently so, and not arbitrarily credited with the translator's bias or hidden agenda.

Walter Martindale
09-28-2012, 06:25 AM
Good points, Chris, and thank you again for the Tada Sensei interviews.

Actually, it is my view that, IF the Founder made those two statements of a) exhorting his students to surpass him, and b) predicting that his aikido would die with him, he may have been a bit disingenuous. I doubt not that he always strove to be both honest and sincere, but, as amply documented, he advised against being totally forthcoming in his inner most thoughts and secrets.

I have found all manner of teachers who employ a plethora of teaching "tricks" and well intentioned subterfuges to get their students over a hump of understanding or complacency. We would be well adv ised to take these quotes attributed to the Founder with more than a few grains of salt. I have yet to see conclusive evidence that he was indeed accurately quoted, or consistently so, and not arbitrarily credited with the translator's bias or hidden agenda.

Perhaps this point has been made elsewhere but.... re: "b" - predicting that his aikido would die with him. Perhaps I'm simplistic, but only Ueshiba had his nervous system and life history. "Aikido" as he developed it and passed it on to others would (does) live on, but "his" aikido ended when he ended. Since "Spock" was a fictional futuristic alien, we had (and have) no way of extracting "Ueshiba O-Sensei's Aikido" and re-mind-melding it into another person... It's gone, but Aikido lives on.

corbett
09-29-2012, 07:26 PM
Thank you for your feedback. I encourage you to embrace a code of discipline and love based on respect for each other's strengths and weaknesses, the hard work and discipline of our ancestors and the notion that promoting anyone to a rank higher than that which you hold is unacceptable. Honor is everybody's business. The kami expects us to make it our business. Entering the chaos of what seems wrong, dancing with the confusion and feeling alive and well in the spirit of aiki will always be my business. Thank you for allowing me this short visit to your dojo.

hughrbeyer
09-29-2012, 10:13 PM
Actually, it is my view that, IF the Founder made those two statements of a) exhorting his students to surpass him, and b) predicting that his aikido would die with him, he may have been a bit disingenuous. I doubt not that he always strove to be both honest and sincere, but, as amply documented, he advised against being totally forthcoming in his inner most thoughts and secrets.

I suppose it's inevitable that we create our heroes in our own image. We interpret their words in ways that make sense to us; we ignore or downplay the words that go against our preconceptions.

It's not even wrong, as long as we are honest with ourselves (and others) that this is "our" hero, a construct of our imagination, that perhaps draws inspiration from the historical original but is not that person.

The drawback is that such an attitude is prone to limit what we can learn from our Founder (tho I quote Mr. Takahashi above, my comment applies to us all--myself not least). There's a book called "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time"--how does one take a historical figure and re-encounter, re-engage with them after a lifetime of getting used to what they mean?

To my mind, this is one of the great values of the work Chris Li and others are doing. Not that this is the only way to read O-Sensei, but that this is one way to read O-Sensei that has great internal consistency and validity, and which casts light on his art and on what he was attempting to teach.

I don't think we get to ignore his other pronouncements ("Aiki is love")-we need to understand how he reconciled those attitudes with statements about how aiki gives you mastery over opponents--understanding that "reconciliation" has to recognize a lifetime's maturation and also that people aren't entirely consistent anyway. And understanding also that while he may have reconciled these things in his own mind, we may not choose to reconcile them in the same way.

But if you have a great teacher, I think it's always a mistake to give up on the attempt to understand them. People are only human, and sometimes the understanding may include "well, he had a bad day" (I think Jesus was having a bad day when he met the Syrophoenician woman, but that's a topic for another blog), but that doesn't let us off the hook--why did "having a bad day" show up that way, at that time?

So--love and budo. Spiritual reconcilation and immediate mastery of a contentious situation. I reconcile heaven and earth and at the moment my enemy strikes, I am already behind him. If we accept the paradox, not attempting to explain it away, where does that leave us?

(I have been expanding my research into beers and ales, and have lately gotten on to small batch specialty brews. This post brought to you by Green Flash Brewing Company's Trippel Ale, after a full day spent working on kumitachi and tachi dori. Both are recommended, tho perhaps not for clean syntax and clarity of expression.)

corbett
10-05-2012, 01:22 PM
Maybe it's me or maybe somebody threw a blinding supernational technique at my last post but whatever hapened it disappeared. How'd that happen?